SEA Currents: Feb 2015
Greetings friends and family from warm, sunny Port Underwood! After nearly two weeks on the high seas we made anchorage early this morning on the tip of the Southern Island. Being able to walk from one end of the ship to the other in a straight line was a nice change and gave those of us with weaker sea legs a brief respite from the rolling swells of the previous days. We plan on setting sail for Wellington tomorrow morning and we all look forward to some time on dry land.
The day did not start out as peaceful. I’d say it was a bit more exciting. My day started with breakfast, and I am telling you, a whole pitcher of juice literally flew off our table. Our ship has been rocking and rolling for a few days now, but today the seas were particularly rough. We encountered some ten- to twelve-foot waves during our watch, and squalls just kept coming right at us!
Life teems and excitement stirs as our passage to Wellington nears an end. Today, we headed south into the productive, Chatham Rise waters to obtain a little more data and information on what lives and thrives in the colder southerly current. Thanks to those extra few degrees of south latitude, we encountered swarming albatross aplenty, (who seem to know the ins and outs of the waves better than Mama Seamans herself) a few seals, basking and fishing in the chilly water; and even a glimpse of a pair of pilot whales, mother and child, lumbering by.
Every day thus far aboard the Cramer has been active and eventful, with today being no different than the rest. Between taking on a marathon of science deployments and experiencing our first Atlantic History Hour, C Watch had an exciting morning watch shift. Beginning at dawn where we received a 0600 wakeup, we next were served another awesome breakfast at 0620, and then made our way up on deck at 0650 to relieve B Watch.
Each year, SEA awards a SEASCape (high school) or SEA Semester (undergraduate) scholarship to the local student who places first in Falmouth Academy’s Science Fair.
One month ago we were confined to our cottages in Woods Hole waiting out a blizzard that put New England under a record amount of snow. Fast forward to yesterday evening and we were getting ready, yet again, for a different kind of weather event. Forecasts told of an approaching cold front with strong southerly winds to follow. The evening started quietly, as the setting sun filled the cloud-spotted sky with colors of orange, and Lauren, our multi-talented steward, played her musical stylings on a violin.
Personally, I was able to start the day with a very special moment: welcoming aboard a new shipmate. But before we get to that, we have some background to cover.
Starting with our lovely 2230 wake ups, which are always a bit disorienting (who doesn’t love being woken up on a rocking ship in the middle of the night?), B watch slips out of our bunks, don our harnesses and shoes, and climb up onto deck to begin our mid-watch, which runs the ship from 2300 to 0300.
One of the harder things to keep track of on the ship is the incredible amount of food that we are eating. 3 meals a day and 3 snacks strategically placed a few hours after meal times to help wash meals down. Behind the scenes of these meals, we have our amazing steward, Lauren, who has been mentioned before on this blog. Today was a special day for Lauren-it was her day off! And her place was filled with the professional crew on the ship.
The first hour of my 21st birthday was an eventful one. I was on watch, actively handling sails, surveying the surrounding waters for boat traffic at the bow, and balancing on the bowsprit in preparation to set the jib. The winds and swells were intense; it was as if I was a pinball, and the ship was a giant pinball game, making simple maneuvers much more difficult. However, the clear skies were a recipe for great stars, and I was finally able to locate the components of the Celestial G without the help of Stu, my watch officer.
I miss everyone back on land very dearly, and I’ve got pictures of all of you (including the dogs) hanging in my bunk for when I get sad at night, but fear not, I’m having an incredible time here. Yesterday, I had one of the most majestic moments of my life. Shortly after seeing a rainbow off St. Croix, a few shipmates and I climbed out onto the bowsprit to furl the jib. As Marissa and I looked below us, we saw a dolphin riding along with the boat right below us.